NAFLD develops when too much fat builds up in the liver. In contrast to other forms of liver disease, it is not caused because of extortionate alcohol intake; rather it is caused by the build-up of fat. As a result of this factor, it is most commonly found in those who are overweight or obese. In common with every single condition in the rainforest of medicinal conditions, it has a number of symptoms.
This includes extreme tiredness.
Other symptoms that can present are a dull or aching pain in the top right of the tummy, unexplained weight loss, and weakness.
Although NAFLD can present with these symptoms, the NHS says: “There are not usually any symptoms of NAFLD in the early stages.
“You will probably not know you have it unless it’s diagnosed during tests carried out for another reason.”
When NAFLD becomes most serious is when conditions such as jaundice, itchy skin, and swelling in the legs, ankles, feet or tummy arise.
These are symptoms of cirrhosis, the most advanced stage of liver disease.
It is recommended a person sees their GP urgently or calls 111 if they have an existing liver condition.
Depending at what stage a person is diagnosed will depend on the treatment required.
Treatment is where NAFLD becomes more complex as there is no specific cure for the condition.
The NHS says: “Making healthy lifestyle choices can help. Treatment may also be recommended for associated conditions or complications.”
Improved lifestyle choices include the reduction in consumption of alcohol if the patient in question drinks.
Other treatments that may be used include medicines and, if the liver stops working, a liver transplant.
Meanwhile, the UNC School of Medicine in North Carolina has released a report showing alcohol related liver disease mortality rose during the pandemic.
Their study, published in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal found alcohol-related liver disease mortality had risen.
In a statement they said it had “accelerated” during the most significant public health crisis of the 21st Century.
The study’s author Andrew Moon said: “We knew that liver disease deaths from alcohol were on the rise before COVID-19 and this study confirmed our suspicions that these concerning rises in ALD deaths were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As to the causes behind the acceleration and overall rise in mortality before the pandemic, UNC’s Sasha Deutsch-link commented: “Prior research has shown that increasing unemployment and financial insecurity can exacerbate addiction at the community level.”
One of the reasons why the pandemic may have seen a sharp rise is due to isolation and people drinking more during the pandemic either to cope with their loneliness or as a part of a general trend.
Furthermore, those with existing alcohol consumption disorders also reportedly found it harder to access services as health services were trying to deal with their respective Covid waves with limited knowledge of how to fight the condition.
The rise in liver disease mortality is another in the long line of ways Covid is affecting the medicinal landscape both at home and around the world.
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